Tuscaloosa – At least once a year, the Sarah Moody Gallery of Art features work from its Permanent Collection, a trove of works on paper, prints, paintings and small sculptures by notable artists, gathered over the years since Sarah McCorkle Moody began the collection in 1950. Since that time, donors with a connection to the department have contributed to its richness – alumni such as artists and collectors William Hall, and Jim and Myra Morgan, for example. These collections within the Permanent Collection showcase the individual connoisseur’s expertise and taste. The Farley Moody Galbraith Family Purchase Fund, endowed by Sarah Moody’s descendants, allows the director to also select art for the collection, often by artists whose works have been shown in the gallery during the exhibition season.
Choosing what will hang in this show from the more than 1,500 art works in the Permanent Collection might sound overwhelming, but Bill Dooley, director of the gallery, has many years of experience in curating this annual event. “I look at what has been shown in previous years, but then I work intuitively. I try to choose work with a variety of materials, created in different time periods and with different artistic approaches.” For this show, he has selected celebrated artists such as Carrie Mae Weems, Alice Neel, Robert Rauschenberg, Kenny Scharf and Deborah Willis, who work in a wide range of subject matter, medium and approach.
“I want this show to call attention to the diversity of work in our collection in terms of the provenance of each work, the collector or donor, and to show the breadth of the art we have here,” says Dooley.
Dooley and exhibitions coordinator Vicki Rial are excited about showing the newly framed Book of Clouds by the preeminent artist Helen Frankenthaler, a large color woodblock print given by William and Sara Hall, retired master printer of Pace Prints in New York and an alumnus of the department. Hall visited the SMGA last year to give a gallery talk on an exhibition that featured prints from the William and Sara Hall Collection. Students and faculty were able to see the unframed Frankenthaler print up close and hear Hall describe the process of creating the print from the artist’s painting.
Wayne Miller’s deceptively bright work in pigment on paper with neon, It Reminded Him of the Woman in Yokohama, from the Jim and Myra Morgan Collection, will be a literal highlight of the exhibition. The Morgans, both alumni of the Department of Art and Art History and Alabama natives, founded the Morgan Gallery in Kansas City in 1969, became friends with artists and collected their work over the years. The Morgan family donated a portion of their collection to the SMGA Permanent Collection a few years ago. Their ties to Alabama were reflected in the artists they represented, including two prominent Alabama artists who were also UA alumni: Frank Fleming and William Christenberry.
Along with highlights from collections within the Permanent Collection, the show features several University of Alabama alumni and former faculty, from renowned artists like William Christenberry, to second generation abstract expressionists Thornton Willis and his teacher Melville Price, whose sketchbook drawings, a gift of Barbara Gillette Price, were done during the time he taught at UA from 1958 to 1970.
Image credit (above right): Helen Frankenthaler, Book of Clouds, 2007, aquatint and porchoir on woodcut with handcoloring, printed on 3 sheets, image and paper: 35 5/8 x 68 1/4 (overall), William and Sara Hall Collection, Sarah Moody Gallery of Art.
Image credit (right): David Bates (American), White Roses, 2007, woodcut, William and Sara Hall Collection, Sarah Moody Gallery of Art.
The Sarah Moody Gallery of Art is supported by The University of Alabama College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Art and Art History. For further information, contact the gallery at 348-1891 or go to our website: https://art.ua.edu/gallery/smga/.
Garland Hall is a five-minute walk from the Campus Drive Parking Deck and Bus Hub on Hackberry Lane. Information about visitor parking is available here: http://bamaparking.ua.edu/visitor-information/.
For more information about The University of Alabama’s programs in studio art and art history, go here: https://art.ua.edu/academics/.